John's World: Tricky Machinery
Apr 02, 2012
***Editor's Note: "John's World" generated interesting response from our audience. Below we're sharing a transcript of John's comments, followed by viewer reaction:
I REALIZE MANY OF YOU MAY JUST HAVE EATEN, BUT I'M AFRAID I WILL BE BRINGING UP A TOPIC TODAY THAT MAY PROVOKE A STRONG VISCERAL REACTION. I'M TALKING ABOUT THIS YEAR'S FIRST DAY ON OUR FARM.
LIKE ANY STARTUP, THE FIRST DAY OF PLANTING OR HARVEST ALMOST NEVER PROCEEDS ACCORDING TO PLAN, BUT SINCE WE WERE INITIATING A NEW PLANTER, NEW TRACTOR AND NEW COMPUTER SYSTEM - ALL FROM DIFFERENT MANUFACTURERS - WE WERE PREPARED FOR CONSIDERABLE EFFORT TO GET GOING.
WE'RE NOW AT 87 HOURS AND COUNTING ON THIS 2012 FIRST DAY, AND WE ARE FACING THE MOTHER OF ALL TROUBLESHOOTING CHALLENGES: THE INTERMITTENT FAILURE. SOMETIMES EVERYTHING WORKS FINE, THEN SUDDENLY STOPS. SOMETIMES IT'S THE LEFT SIDE, THEN THE RIGHT.
WE'VE SWAPPED PARTS, CLEANED CONTACTS, REPLACED WIRES, REPROGRAMMED, AND STILL HAVE NOT IDENTIFIED THE PROBLEM. I'LL BET TV'S DOCTOR HOUSE COULDN'T DIAGNOSE THIS ONE.
WE'VE CALLED IN EXPERT HELP, AND THEY HAVE GIVEN IT THEIR BEST SHOT, BUT ODDLY SEEM TO ALL SUGGEST THE PROBLEM IS WITH THE OTHER EQUIPMENT, NOT THEIRS.
IT MAKES ME NOSTALGIC FOR THE DAYS WHEN MACHINES DIDN'T FAIL, BUT BROKE. THE TERM SAYS IT ALL. THINGS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ONE PIECE WERE TWO OR SEVERAL. BIG CHUNKS FELL OFF IN THE FIELD. BREAKDOWNS HAD OBVIOUS CAUSES. GREMLINS HAVE MORE DEVIOUS TOOLS NOW.
HOWEVER, I AM CONFIDENT WE'LL EVENTUALLY THRASH THESE PROBLEMS OUT. IF HISTORY IS ANY GUIDE, HOWEVER, IT WILL BE SEVERAL SEASONS BEFORE WE TRULY TRUST THESE MACHINES FULLY.
Viewer Response #1: John - your report this morning about new equipment hit home here! Last year we bought a new forage chopper. The metal alert kept going off every few feet. After 3 hours the frustrated mechanic started pulling on wires and found a loose wire in the chopper control panel. Problem fixed. A day or so later the PTO assembly flew off the machine and wiped out all the hoses! Again a loose nut. Factory quality control is apparently lacking. They don't realize how much stress and loss they create on the farm. Start pulling wires and tighten up the nuts. Good luck.
Dale & Teressa Jensen
Viewer Response #2: John - my son recently paid our local dealer almost $900 to chase down a single broken wire that disabled his hay cutter. It took 5 days, numerous calls to the factory, and several trips to the farm. These fly by wire machines may spell trouble ahead.